Shunning the gallery space, meet the artist inviting you into his humble abode and challenging the traditions of displaying art
In what started as an open call to artists, Ideal Uh-Huh – an online platform that fellow artist Nick Jeffrey uses as a platform to invite other creatives to submit images to – is now readying itself to open IRL in Berlin, with its exhibition Ja! "I wanted it to be an anonymous, autonomous project, that would gradually be filled with images over time which people could pass on and submit to,” says Jeffrey of the project. “I still like how there are artists on the site who aren’t in this show and could be in future projects, and its always growing.”
The exhibition looks to challenge traditional display methods in providing context and placement, with the artists taking the work outside of the gallery walls and into an apartment – Jeffrey’s to be exact. “I was working on a few smaller projects here, then I cleared out my studio, which is currently in my apartment,” laughs Jeffrey, who wants to open up the space for future exhibitions and other artists, with the possibility of offering it as a work space. With the help of Conor O'Shea, who is also exhibiting in Ideal Uh-Huh’s show – alongside Luc Fuller, Simon Mathers and Mary Hurrell, amongst others – the duo are exploring the age of endless reproduction – an important era we find ourselves in courtesy of the domination of social media and the technological revolution’s continual advancements. For a taster, explore the gallery above and below, catch up with the duo ahead of the show’s launch.
Could you tell us a bit about the exhibition?
Nick Jeffrey: Ideal Uh-Huh started as a website (or place) where initially I invited artists to submit an image with the date and place taken. Over time I wanted to get another group show together and both projects have merged. Then I met Conor O’Shea in Berlin, we discussed doing a show and we planned it out really fast.
Conor O’Shea: When I was younger I dabbled in and out of spaces but now it is very important for me to be involved with a growing alternative space. Putting interesting shows on keeps me very active. When I met Nick in Berlin I thought it would be a great chance to connect some people I already knew who were making great work. It is interesting for me to witness all these people meeting through the work and making it the perfect project to work on.
Is there a theme or narrative running throughout the show that ties the artists together?
Conor O’Shea: The theme places itself simply between a convergence of technology and tradition including printing, painting, sculpture and sound. We really tried to convey what is happening right now from as many different views as possible.
Nick Jeffrey: Similar to some biological analogue mossy soup!
How did the selection of artists come about?
Nick Jeffrey and Conor O’Shea: The selection came out of a combination of friends and other artists we contacted, in where we saw a good crossover but not necessarily being that close. The group changed over time to how it is currently.
“I was interested in how these display methods have changed and adapted throughout history and how traditions are re-contextualized and incorporated with current mediums today” – Conor O’Shea
What was behind the decision to challenge the traditional spaces usually used by artists to display work?
Conor O’Shea: They are still used by museums to clearly display art to the general public, stating how to look at a piece of art by placing paintings on walls objects on plinths and sacred works behind glass. I saw some shows where museums were using display as an aesthetic medium incorporating contemporary works alongside masters. I was interested in how these display methods have changed and adapted throughout history and how traditions are re-contextualized and incorporated with current mediums today.
What makes using this space - Nick’s apartment – so special or important to the show?
Nick Jeffrey: Just using what you have! To make something happen, away from the similar gallery context. For this show I’ve opened it up by inviting Conor to help me get it together and want to continue this in the future by offering the space to people who could do good things here. We always say to an artist we’re contacting that they can do whatever they want here which is refreshing. For this show, a lot of the work is coming by mail, in the summer it would be good to get artists here to work and perhaps in the space expanding it out of the apartment.
Could you tell us a bit more about your references to an “age of endless reproduction”?
Conor O’Shea: At the time I was reading a lot of essays by Peter Osborne and Georges Didi-Huberman about authentication in art reproduction and the growth of techniques. Particularly in the recent Texte zur Kunst, ‘art’ verses ‘image’.
“The age of endless reproduction” was broadly adopted from Walter Benjamin’s essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction where he states ideas of ‘the aura in art’, “That in principle a work of art has always been reproducible”, how art is seen in the age of mass media, and the role that technological reproduction plays on aesthetics. I thought this was relevant to our time still and the works in the show responded to these ideals to.
Ja! launches this evening 18.00-21.00 and then daily over the weekend and at other times by appointment until 4 December. For more information click here